"In a year marked by record-smashing floods, fires, heatwaves and droughts, the
urgent need to act on climate change has never been more apparent. And yet, the
International Energy Agency (IEA) has found coal burning for electricity
generation will reach record levels this year.
Why? Largely because rising natural gas prices, due to sanctions on Russia, is
driving demand for less expensive coal to fill the gap in energy supply. The
report finds Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has “sharply altered the dynamics of
coal trade, price levels, and supply and demand patterns in 2022”.
The good news, however, is the world’s coal use has peaked – and will soon
rapidly decline. This is because new solar and wind power station capacity is
being installed 18 times faster than new coal. In many countries such as
Australia, retiring coal power stations are being replaced by solar and wind.
Coal use in Australia’s National Electricity Market (NEM) peaked in 2008. Since
then, the proportion of coal in the NEM electricity mix has fallen from 86% to
59%, and this decline is accelerating.
So why is Australia ahead of the pack in weaning itself off coal? And what
lessons can we offer the rest of the world?"
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics